Do I need their permission to have a union?

There is a good post from Anthony Cody in Ed Week.

I can hardly be accused of being an apologist for the leadership of the NEA or the IEA. But do I really need permission from some people who claim they are progressives to have a union unless it meets their conditions?


One of the oldest problems with the left or progressive movement is our tendency to drag ourselves down through internal struggle over who has the most correct political line. We are seeing some of this dynamic emerge in the movement against high stakes testing. Perhaps it is a coming of age – a sign of our success – that we have a strong enough movement that people are taking these issues seriously. But I am afraid we are going to squander our precious momentum by turning our anger on one another, when there are very clear assaults taking place on teachers and students across the country.

2 Replies to “Do I need their permission to have a union?”

  1. I can’t find a way to contact you directly anymore, Fred; but here’s an update on Stand for Children in Massachusetts. They filed an initiative petition to utterly change evaluations, disembowel the union, punish teachers….the usual…last July. Since then the MTA, despite talk of fighting, has polled the public and members (they do this all the time) and has decided the cause is hopeless, and has been “negotiating” with Stand to “create a legislative solution.”

    The initiative petition, approved for the ballot, has 31 portions, including such gems as taking professional status (sorta like what we used to call “tenure”) away from anyone with a part-time job, and “giving Principals the right to refuse involuntary transfers”. It’s filled with holes and dumb ideas. Isee such idiocy as “opportunity” and my state union sees them as “threats” that the polling indicates would pass.

    Negotiations are almost done, and only 2 of the 31 points remain…the two worst, that weaken and at times remove collective bargaining rights on certain topics. The MTA Annual Meeting of delegates was asked to approve allowing “contin ued negotiations” (they’re effectively done) and having the Board of Directors approve any resulting “deal”.

    They talked about the Edelman video and Illinois, but showed absolutely no awareness that they are doing exactly what he bragged he had done to you folks. Their argument is that the ballot question would be a “10” loss and they’ve got it down to a “2” loss, and that’s a victory. I was simply spoiling for a fight over this.

    For example, the part time “tenured” teachers are aolmost exclusively– I’d bet 98%– women. Women with babies, job sharing. It’s anti-child and anti-women and it’s an idea from Stand for Children, which doesn’t stand for Children, they stand for the Waltons and the Kochs. I think we’d have the argument; and I have some faith in the MAssachusetts voter once we expose what’s going on. The MTAQ has no faith in the voters; and none in the MTA members they represent. They want to decide what’s good for us; and go get us a solution.

    And they won at our Annual Meeting. About 350 to 250 (roughly). The insider apparatchiks prevailed; and the membership (even the activist membership) has been disempowered.

    All our enemies have to do is get a crapload of money from the billionaire boy’s club, come up with a plan to attack us, and our unions and organizations fold like origami.

    I feel like I wasted a weekend, except for the younger members who came to the Educators for a Democratic Union meeting. They filled the caucus room; they listened; and they’re pissed. The disrespect for young educators, their dedication and their ability to understand union issues is palpable, especially among older folks, and I sat in the retired section and had to listen to that crap. I told them about how I got my younger members to chase the Mayor of my city across the parking lot as he fled our picketing, chanting, “run away! Run away!” during our strike back in 2007. organizing is a lost art, it seems.

    I took an old “yes, we can” button, taped over the last word and wrote “surrender” in pen. Got lots of comment. Keep up the fight.

  2. RE: Cody article – Progressives are famous for talking/analyzing and pride themselves on being intellectually superior because they read and discuss in detail, but they must never lose sight of the importance of the ultimate goal. Never make light of pragmatism.

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